"The best thing that's ever happened to you is getting hit by a truck": The fall and rise of John Maclean
"So I remember getting back onto the freeway on the side of the road where you could ride your bike. And after that nothing. For me, I was very fortunate to survive the accident. And my first recollection was waking up four days later." - John Maclean
When John Maclean was twenty-two, his life was going very well. He was a successful athlete on track for great achievement and success.
Then one morning, while riding his bicycle, he was hit by an eight-ton track.
"After having my injury, it was very dark and I grieved that I had to say goodbye to my legs. Grieved to say goodbye to the life that I had. And I think it was important for me to do that." - John Maclean
Once Maclean did the heavy emotional lifting, he returned to sports and turned his sights on some of the world's most challenging sporting events. He became the first wheelchair athlete to complete the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon and swim the English Channel.
But as Maclean tells it, he still had much to learn about life.
After crashing in a race at the Sydney Olympics, Maclean fell into a depression. His life coach Maurie Rayner gave him a frank assessment, "The best thing that ever happened to you was getting hit by that truck. The next best thing that ever happened to you was crashing at the Olympics. Maybe that will make you realize that life doesn't revolve around John Maclean."
Maclean says his greatest personal achievement has been to partially regain the ability to walk with the help of therapist Ken Ware. He cautions that in spite of the years of hard work, this is not a miracle cure. "I still have my paralysis. Ken said you always had the potential with my injury and what happened to my spinal chord."
"My walking is not like it was pre-accident, but it's up on my feet again so it's celebrating those moments."
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